Surekha Shankar Yadav is the first female train driver for the Indian Railways in India and also in Asia. In the year 1988, she became India’s first female train driver. At very first she drove the “Ladies Special” local train for Central Railways.
Surekha was born in Satara in Maharashtra on 2 September 1965 to sonabai and Ramchandra Bhosle. After schooling she took admission for vocation training and then studied for a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Government Polytechnic at Karad in the Satara district of western Maharashtra. She wanted to continue her college studies to get graduate of Bsc in maths and B-Ed to become a teacher, but a job opportunity in the Indian Railways put an end to her further studies.
She was interviewed by the Railway Recruitment Board ,Mumbai in 1987.she was selected as a trainee assistant driver in 1986 at the Kalyan Training School ,where she trained for 6 months. She became regular assistant driver in 1989.She was assigned to work as a goods train driver in 1996. In 1988 she became a full fledged goods train driver. In 2000 she was promoted as motor-woman. In 2010 she became Ghat driver on the Western Ghat railway line.In May 2011 she was promoted as an express mail driver.
Inspiring from her, 50 women locomotive drivers who were operating suburban trains and local trains, and also as shunters or assistant drivers.
Surekha said that she received full support from her family, friends and colleagues andhas not experienced any discrimination as a woman.
You will be surprised on hearing that she doesn’t know how to drive a two-wheeler or a four wheeler vehicle, she is happy by driving a 9 or 12 car rake of a suburban train which carries 4,500 people.
She has no record of train accidents & works 10 hours a day. Surekha acted in a television serial titled “Hum Bhi Kisise Kam Nahi” in 1991. She has received adulation from several organizations for her unique role as a Woman train driver.
She got married in 1990 to Shankar Yadav who is Police Inspector in the Government of Maharashta. They have 2 sons both being students of Mumbai University.
A momentous event in her career was on 8 March 2011, on the International Women’s Day, when she became Asia’s first woman train driver to drive the Deccan Queen from Pune to CST, through difficult but scenic topography.
She was honoured by the awards like Jijau Puraskar in 1998, Women achievers award in 2001 by lions, Rashtriya mahila aayog delhi in 2001, Lokmat sarkhi manch in 2002, S.B.I Platinium jubilee year celebrations in 2003-2004, sahyadri hirkani award in 2004, Prerna Puraskar in 2005, G.M award in 2011, Women achievers award in 2011 by central railway, RWCC Best women award of year 2013 for the first lady locopilot on Indian Railways in April 2011.
She is currently teaching in Driver’s Training Centre (DTC) Kalyan, as Senior Instructor.